Paul Elisha: The Accidental Curmudgeon

Jan 31, 2013

There’s a danger for commentators who gather listeners with age.  It’s a trap to be avoided at all costs; too easy to fall into and escapable only with the greatest of difficulty…  as this commentator can now attest, from bitter experience.  The trap?  A wily metamorphosis that turns commentators into ‘cussed’ curmudgeons.

In a dither of high dudgeon, this commentator had decided to give members of our nation’s Highest Court a verbal thrashing for deciding that corporations are people, like any other individuals and thus capable of unfettered speech and endless funds with which to drive less wealthy beings into deafening silence.  Someone capable of delivering verbal thunderbolts was needed, he thought, so why not this courageous curmudgeon?

A quick check with one of my most trusted sources, on matters of Judicial History, dealt a withering blow to my dignity; curtailing my career as a ‘wannabe’ curmudgeon.  Although not yet born at the time, he said, he was fairly certain of a similar High Court decision, sometime around 1870 or 1871.

This commentator’s ardent thanks to his source; also to a bona fide curmudgeon, the essayist,  H.L.Mencken, who wrote this:  “The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine, that age brings wisdom.”  This now chastened former curmudgeon ‘wannabe’ couldn’t agree more.

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